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Tyrone community says goodbye to Bill Ellenberger

The community of Tyrone said goodbye to one of it’s most respected citizens last night. The Christ United Methodist Church was filled with persons whose lives were touched by B. William Ellenberger Jr. Bill touched so many of us as a Scoutmaster, athletic trainer, church leader, a good neighbor, a leader of his large family of children and grandchildren, or just people who knew and respected him.
The program was filled with love and music, as Bill would have chosen. The congregation opened the program by singing “Great is thy Faithfulness,” followed by words of welcome by his son Bill Ellenberger.
Dr. Bob Charles, who was the commencement speaker for the 2003 graduation at Tyrone Area High School, was unable to attend, but sent a lovely letter paying tribute to Bill Ellenberger’s role as a Scoutmaster and Camp Manager at Camp Anderson.
Coach Jim Zauzig of Huntingdon, spoke of the 30 months when he coached in Tyrone and how his five-year old son Tyler idolized Bill and would come to football practice just to be with him. Coach Zauzig said that when Tyler was killed three years ago, one of the first to call was Bill Ellenberger. This was typical of the loving, caring person, this community knew in Bill.
A song, written by Bill’s wife, Eileen Ellenberger was sung by the congregation. Guest speaker was Pete Dutrow, former coach and Athletic Director at Tyrone Area High School.
In addition, others were given the oportunity to speak. Mayor Jim Bonsell of Bellwood, spoke of being in school and having played football with Bill. Tom Templeton told how Bill was the first to come when Tom’s father had died-both had been Scoutmasters of Tyrone troops. Gary McGovern told of the origination of the Bill Ellenberger Scholarship which is sponsored by the local Elks Lodge and funded by the Powder Puff Derby. Sue and Bill O’Brien spoke as did the son of the late Rev. Jack Park of the Bible Baptist Church, who himself is a clergyman. Larry Crowell paid tribute to Bill Ellenberger’s role as a Scoutmaster. Indeed, everyone of the more than 300 persons who filled the church to overflowing could have stood up and told stories and witnessed to the contributions and significance of Bill in their own personal lives.
Mayor Bonsell and Amelia McFarland sang several numbers to the group.
The song “When All is Said and Done,” was sung by Bill’s son, Andy Ellenberger and words of hope were spoken by Pastor Roy Hunter of the Bible Baptist Church.
The Allegheny Chorale sang “He is Faithful” and Bill’s son Bill Ellenberger summed up the feelings shown there with a few closing words.
Food and refreshments were prepared by members of the Grace Baptist Church. Persons from all churches, all walks of life, all ages were represented there in paying tribute to the life of Bill Ellenberger and what Bill meant to each of us.
As has been said, Christ United Methodist Church was filled with persons whose lives were changed for the better simply by knowing Bill Ellenberger. He was a marvelous witness for the teachings and ways of Jesus Christ, and through his work with kids in athletics, as well as in scouting, and in his church work, the ever-present message of right and wrong was taught. There are truly thousands of people who are better persons today because Bill Ellenberger touched them.